Disney On Ice Presents Passport to Adventure In San Diego Oct. 6-9

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Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as your tour guides a magical globetrotting getaway as they travel to the timeless worlds of Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and the #1 animated feature film of all time, Frozen, in Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure! Celebrate some of the most memorable Disney tales and landscapes with all your favorite characters in one fun-filled ice production, coming to San Diego from October 6th – 9th at the Valley View Casino Center.

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Mickey and Minnie will take audiences on a sightseeing adventure created for the entire family to explore the African Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyage deep under the sea to Ariel’s mystical underwater kingdom and tour London with Peter Pan and Wendy before flying to Neverland to meet up with Tinker Bell. Plus, travel to Arendelle for an extraordinary adventure with sisters Anna and Elsa, rugged mountain man Kristoff and everyone’s favorite, huggable snowman Olaf, as they journey to discover that true love is the most magical power of all.

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure features an international team of award-winning figure skaters, high-energy choreography and a colorful set that captures all four unique worlds. Upbeat music, lovable characters and unforgettable moments make this an experience families will cherish forever!

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Showtimes:

Thursday, October 6 – Sunday, October 9

Thursday, Oct. 6 7:00 PM

Friday, Oct. 7 7:00 PM

Saturday, Oct. 8 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, Oct. 9 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM

Location:

Valley View Casino Center
3500 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego CA 92110

Tickets:

Ticket prices start at just $15!

Special Opening Night discount tickets available for only $12 each (not valid for VIP/Front Row levels)

All seats are reserved; tickets are available for purchase online at AXS.com, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or visit the Valley View Casino Center Box Office.
*tickets prices are subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Passport To Adventure, along with the full line up of Disney On Ice productions for the 2016-2017 season, go on sale July 7, 2016. Visit http://presale.disneyonice.com for the shows and dates coming to your hometown.

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Which Disney character are you most looking forward to seeing?

Don’t forget to check Disney on Ice out online on Facebook and twitter too!!

*** This giveaway is now closed ***

Congrats Debbie Terry! 

Open to US only, 18+. Must be able to attend this event in San Diego on October 6. This giveaway ends September 29, 2016 at 11:59EST. Tickets are valid for weekday performances only (Thursday at 7pm).

Mandatory Entry
Please comment* below with your (or your child’s) favorite Disney character and/or why you’re excited for Disney on Ice.

Bonus Entries

These entries are NOT required, they just give you a few extra chances to win, do one two, or them all, it’s up to you. Please leave a separate comment for each entry you complete. Please note that your COMMENT is your entry, not the action you perform.

1. Do you Like us on Facebook – leave a comment and let us know!
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5. Tweet this  and leave a comment with your tweet URL. (you may do this twice a day with at least 2 hours in between each tweet, please leave a comment each time)

Enter to win a 4pack of tickets to Disney on Ice Passport To Adventure in #SanDiego from @SimmworksFamily! http://acraftyspoonful.com/disney-ice-passport-adventure/ Ends 9/29

Thank you and good luck!

*Important: By completing any entry in our giveaways, you agree to ALL of our giveaway terms and conditions. Comments such as “Thank you for the giveaway” “I want to win” etc will not be counted as the mandatory entry and will be deleted along with all corresponding bonus entries. Please be aware that comments are moderated and may not appear right away. Make sure you use a valid email address so we may notify you if you’ve won! Giveaway winners will receive their tickets through the mail directly. Winner must provide mailing address to receive these tickets.

Disclaimer: I received tickets in exchange for promotion of this show. All opinions are my own.

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science at theNAT

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People exhibit Dragons Lair Couch

Last Saturday marked the grand opening of Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science, a brand-new, permanent exhibition at theNAT. The kids and I were invited to check it out a bit early though so we headed over to the museum last Friday to take a peek. As soon as we walked in one kid went one while while the other headed the other way. And boy were they excited to find that not only were there cool items on display, there was also a little book nook upstairs just for them in the Dragon’s Den. 

Located in the new Eleanor and Jerome Navarra Special Collections Gallery, Extraordinary Ideas was developed from the ground up by the Museum’s exhibits staff. The exhibition features approximately 70 rare books, works of art, and photographs from the Research Library’s 56,000-volume collection that demonstrate how everyone can participate in science. Exhibits will also include plant and animal specimens, touchscreen interactives, and touchable models (perfect for little hands).

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People touch and see for kids

A Little History (of course)

TheNAT was founded in 1874 as the San Diego Society of Natural History by a small group of citizen scientists who had a passion for the natural world. They dedicated countless hours to documenting their observations of the flora and fauna in San Diego County. Extraordinary Ideas helps tell their stories by featuring exhibits that showcase works that resulted from their devotion to the natural world.

For example, Laurence Klauber, who is featured in the exhibition, is a locally known amateur naturalist who was the chairman and CEO of SDG&E, and in his off time focused on studying reptiles. In the field of herpetology, he left his mark as the world’s leading authority on rattlesnakes. Klauber donated 36,000 reptile and amphibian specimens to theNAT, including the most comprehensive collection of rattlesnakes in the world.

More To See

In addition to the main exhibition, there is an upper mezzanine featuring two smaller galleries. The first gallery showcases exquisite original watercolors of California wildflowers by renowned artist A.R. Valentien. The A.R. Valentien gallery will display approximately 10 paintings at one time from the 1,094 pieces the Museum has in its collection. The second gallery is named the Dragon’s Den and houses a fantasy book nook designed specifically for children with comfortable seating and antiquarian books depicting dragons and other mythical creatures.

“Very few people have seen the objects that are featured in Extraordinary Ideas and its accompanying galleries,” said Margaret “Margi” Dykens, curator of Extraordinary Ideas and longtime director of the Research Library at the San Diego Natural History Museum. “The objects and rare books on display, some dating back to the 1500s, convey the impact citizen science has had not only on our organization, but the world at large. It’s a great honor to be able to share these items with the public for the first time.”

A Stunning View

The exhibition is on Level 3 of the Museum, and the entryway is clearly marked by a dramatic pediment featuring a griffin, a mythical beast whose image is found in many early natural history encyclopedias. As visitors approach, they will notice larger-than-life natural history books, replicas of 10 books in the Museum’s collection. Once visitors enter the space, they are greeted by wallpaper murals of marbled end papers, a design detail included in many of the Museum’s rare books. To preserve the condition of the featured objects, each gallery is climate- and light-controlled.

Other exhibition highlights include:

  • An extremely rare copy of the gigantic Double Elephant Folio of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The folio, one of only a few intact copies in existence, depicts life-size renditions of a wide variety of North America’s birds.
  • Gorgeous, oversized murals featuring illustrations from rare books, including a Reddish Egret from the aforementioned Birds of America as well as a stunning mural fromHistoria Naturalis Ranarum, a book from 1758 about the natural history of frogs.
  • Exhibits on naturalists—both past and present—featuring rare books alongside specimens from the Museum’s research collections, touchable objects, and multimedia experiences that allow deeper access to the works on display.
  • The top of the Foucault pendulum, which was installed in the 1950s and has been restored and adorned with a new, modern casing.
  • Exposed skylights and other stunning architectural elements from the original 1930s building.

Finding Inspiration 

“Early citizen scientists helped develop our understanding of the natural world, and today they broaden and amplify the work of professional scientists,” said Judy Gradwohl, president and CEO at the San Diego Natural History Museum. “Extraordinary Ideas allows us to show how amateur naturalists began our beloved institution and how they continue to provide vital support for our research projects. Our hope is that visitors will walk away knowing that their observations help make a difference in the world of science and, more specifically, the natural history of our region.”

Extraordinary Ideas will show visitors how they can contribute to the Museum’s research efforts by submitting information on various digital platforms, one such platform being theAmphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California, a binational effort to understand the biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles from southern California and Baja California.

The Research Library’s resources that are not on view in the exhibition continue to remain available for research purposes. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit theNAT’s website or call 877.946.7797.

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People exhibit A.R. Valentin Mural

When was your last visit to theNAT? 

The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park. For more information, call 877.946.7797 or visit sdnat.org. Follow theNAT on Twitter and Instagram and join the discussion on Facebook.

MLB All-Star FanFest Coming To San Diego!

Major League Baseball Fan Fest during All Star weekend, Friday, July 10, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by J.Geil / MLB Photos)

Major League Baseball Fan Fest during All Star weekend, Friday, July 10, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by J.Geil / MLB Photos)

The largest interactive baseball theme park in the world is coming to San Diego from July 8th through July 12th. MLB All-Star FanFest is a baseball fan’s dream come true – with chances to meet your favorite players, watch legendary games and participate in many events and activities surrounding the All-Star Game.

More than 40 legends of Major League Baseball and the San Diego Padres will make appearances at MLB All-Star FanFest at the San Diego Convention Center. Fans will have the opportunity to receive free autographs and participate in question-and-answer sessions and clinics led by the former players, all included with the price of MLB All-Star FanFest admission.

Live Radio Autograph Stages

MLB All-Star FanFest Coming To San Diego

For five days, baseball fans will have the opportunity to:

  • Meet MLB Legends and get free autographs
  • Participate in baseball training drills and test out their batting skills in the All-Star batting cages
  • View hometown memorabilia and artifacts from Padres’ history, along with a collection of official awards and trophies of Major League Baseball including the World Series, Home Run Derby and All-Star Game MVP
  • Get their photo taken with the World’s Largest Baseball signed by Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays and others
Major League Baseball Fan Fest during All Star weekend, Friday, July 10, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by J.Geil / MLB Photos)

Major League Baseball Fan Fest during All Star weekend, Friday, July 10, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by J.Geil / MLB Photos)

Again, here are the details:

What: MLB All-Star FanFest
Where: San Diego Convention Center
When: July 8th through July 12th
Tickets: Purchase here (or enter to win a family 4 pack below!)

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Another activity surrounding FanFest is Play Ball Park. Located in front of the Hilton Bayfront, the inaugural PLAY BALL Park will be a nearly 80,000 square foot outdoor location that will operate Thursday, July 7th through Tuesday, July 12th. This baseball diamond will provide fun, engaging and educational activities for youth baseball and softball players and their families.

And don’t forget to sign up for yoga and the All-Star 5k! More details here.

Since FanFest is fast approaching, we don’t want you to miss out on the fun!

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to this awesome event below!

MLB All-Star FanFest San Diego Family 4-Pack

$1 Movies for 2016 Summer Movie Express

 

Summer Movie Express Regal Cinemas; Image Source: Regal Entertainment Group

The nine-week film festival takes place at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.  The start dates for Summer Movie Express vary based on local school schedules. A portion of each $1 admission goes to assist the Will Rogers Institute.

“With a wide variety of films this summer starting with The Lego Movie and ending with The Lorax, we know families will be boarding the Summer Movie Express at Regal,” said Ken Foreman, Vice President of Film Marketing at Regal Entertainment Group. “This annual program provides an excellent opportunity for families to enjoy the movies together week after week.”

$1 Movies for 2016 Summer Movie Express

Each week, there will be two featured films at the early morning matinee show time of 10:00 am. The titles for this year’s Summer Movie Express are:

$1 Movies for 2016 Summer Movie Express

In San Diego? Click on the link below to print a PDF of your local theater’s schedule.

Edwards Mira Mesa

Regal Parkway Plaza

Edwards Rancho San Diego

For a full list of participating locations, local festival dates and for more information, please visit www.REGmovies.com/Movies/Summer-Movie-Express.

What movie will you be heading out to see with the kids?

Top Things To Do For Mother’s Day in San Diego

Things To Do in San Diego for Mothers Day 2015

Looking to shower mom with love and a delicious meal on Mother’s Day? Check out these great local eats perfect for Mom and the whole family! From Coronado, to Downtown San Diego, to Del Mar, Mother’s Day is covered! And if you need gift ideas, scroll down to the bottom for some great suggestions.

If you decide to go to our pick this year – the Westgate Hotel Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch – then make sure to head right around the corner to The Headquarters afterwards for some great shopping and entertainment!

Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch at the Westgate Hotel
Served in the hotel’s beautiful Fontainebleau and Versailles Salons, the Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch at the Westgate Hotel will feature made to-order-omelets, fresh seafood, gourmet plates, carving and crepe stations, baked breads, pastries and a variety of gourmet desserts. In addition to the delightful unlimited feast, the Imperial Bar will serve freshly squeezed juices and endless champagne, mimosas, Bloody Marys and margaritas. Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch reservations can be made by calling 619-557-3655.
Price: $79 for adults and $39.50 for children under 12 (plus tax and gratuity).
Location: 1055 Second Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
Website

Brunch at Mister A’s
Enjoy brunch at Mister A’s, which is just minutes from Downtown and features beautiful views. Entrees include Buttermilk Fried “Chicken And Waffles” or Eggs Benedict With Fresh Crab Meat Or Pork Belly.
Price: $64.50 per person, gratuity of 20% will be added to all checks
Location: 2550 Fifth Avenue Twelfth Floor, San Diego, CA 92103
Website

Brunch at Hotel Del Coronado
An elegant brunch with live musical entertainment, a rose for each mom that attends and a children’s buffet. MENU
Price: $120 for adults and$45 for children ages 6-10 in the Crown Room, $110 for adults and $43 for children ages 6-10 in the Ballroom. Children 5 and under eat free with paying adult.
Location: 1500 Orange Ave Coronado, CA 92118
Website

Dining at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
A limited menu will be served from from 1 – 5pm. Moms ordering from this menu will eat for free!
Price: varies, you can view the menu HERE, Moms ordering from this limited menu will enjoy their entrée for FREE!
Location: 565 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA Gaslamp Quarter
Website

SEA180°’s Mother’s Day Champagne Buffet Brunch
Champagne Buffet Brunch with omelets, a pancake station, a prime rib carving station and more. MENU
Price: $64.95 adults, $12.95 kids 6-12 and kids under 6 are free
Location: 800 Seacoast Dr Imperial Beach, CA
Website

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
Mother’s Day is the last day to experience the beautiful Flower Fields this season.
Price: $14.00 for Adults, $13.00 for Seniors 60+, $7.00 for Children 3-10, Children 2 and under are free
Location: 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Website


Mother’s Day at Rancho Bernardo Inn

Dine at the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn, featuring different menus throughout the day. Three different restaurants and menus: Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant | Avant | Aragon Ballroom
Price: Varies
Location: 17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr., San Diego, CA 92128
Website

Hornblower Mother’s Day Cruise
Enjoy being on the water in beautiful San Diego. Two different cruises to choose from: Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch with Live Jazz or Mother’s Day Sunset Dinner Cruise. Menus: Brunch Buffet Menu, Buffet Menu or Dinner Menu
Price: Varies, depending on cruise
Location: San Diego Grape St. Pier 1800 N. Harbor Dr
Website

Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet at The Shores
Enjoy an oceanfront buffet with your Mom! Menu includes American Cheeses, Tri-Color Orzo and Artichoke Salad, Roasted Angus Top Sirloin, desserts, and a children’s station. MENU
Price: $52/person, $26 children 6-12, $4 per year children 5 and under
Location: 8110 Camino Del Oro La Jolla, CA 92037
Website

Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise
Gourmet buffet, live music and beautiful San Diego views while aboard one of the vessels of the Flagship Cruises and Events fleet. Featuring an omelet station, carving station, taco bar & more
Price: $74.50/Adult, $44.70/Child 4-12 yrs
Location: 990 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
Website

Brunch at Top Of The Market
Enjoy beautiful views at one of San Diego’s finest restaurants. Entrees include Steak and Eggs, Free Range Eggs Benedict with Blue Lump Crab Cakes and Smoked Salmon Scramble Omelet.
Price: Prices vary, see MENU
Location: 750 North Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101
Website

Mother’s Day Dining at The Grand Del Mar
Brunch at The Clubhouse Grill (10:00 am – 4:00 pm) – $42 per person, includes coffee and tea MENU
Champagne Brunch in the Elizabeth Ballroom (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) – $108 per adult | $30 per child (ages 4 – 12) MENU
Dining at Amaya (Brunch: 11:30 am – 4:00 pm Dinner: 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm) – $75 per person | Children’s buffet, $30 (ages 4 – 12)
Afternoon Tea and Bubbly (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm) – $50 per person
Location: 5300 Grand Del Mar Court, San Diego, CA 92130
Website

Mother’s Day Run
Run with Mom! This 5k and 10k benefits the San Diego Rescue Mission
Price: Entry fees vary. Register HERE
Location: 3000 N Mission Bay Dr. San Diego, CA 92109
Website

Mother’s Day Brunch with Shamu
Enjoy brunch inside Sea World, with a french crepe station, omelet station, french toast, bagels and much more!
Price: This special brunch is $55.00 for ages 10+ and $27.00 for ages 3-9 (Park admission is required & not included in this price)
Location: Sea World, San Diego
Website

Mother’s Day Brunch at Fleming’s Steakhouse
Enjoy delicious entrees such as Baked Brioche French Toast, Prime Rib with a Trio of Sauces, Porcini-Crusted Filet Mignon and more!
Price: $39.95 for adults and $18.95 for kids
Location: La Jolla (8970 University Center Lane, San Diego, CA 92122) and San Diego (380 K Street, San Diego, CA 92101)
Website

Mother’s Day Brunch at Eddie V’s
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., treat Mom to a decadent three-course brunch with standout menu items including an Alaskan King Crab omelet, lobster quiche Florentine, pan seared steak and eggs, and house baked fresh cinnamon rolls. Raise a glass with classic mimosas, Bellini’s or Bloody Marys.
Price: $49 for adults, $15 for kids
Location:
Website

Mother’s Day Brunch at Season’s 52
The newly introduced brunch features seasonal favorites like a vegetable frittata with roasted red peppers, mushrooms and grilled asparagus, a brick oven brioche French toast with blueberry infused syrup, and a Shakshuka with chorizo and crumbled feta. Sit out on the newly redone patio to enjoy the beautiful San Diego sunshine.
Price: varies
Location:
Website

Gifts She’ll Love:

  •  For the foodie: You can’t go wrong with chocolates and cheese. Dallmann’s Fine Chocolates offers a Wine & Chocolate pairing box with locally made chocolates selected to pair perfectly with red and white wines ($20), while Venissimo Cheese has a huge selection of cheese from around the world as well as beautiful cheese supplies like this olivewood board and knife perfect for the hostess ($65).
  •  For the art lover: Aaron Chang’s world renowned 12×12 prints of San Diego scenery, tropical landscapes and beautiful orchids make a memorable gift at a great price ($150).
  •  For the fashionista: From Free People to Dolce Vita and everything in between, Madison San Diego is a great spot to find tops, shoes, bags and jewelry. Top picks include these gold Brighton necklaces ($78) and bright Hobo clutches ($110).
  • For the book worm: Geppetto’s has a number of customizable books for little ones to surprise Mom and Grandma with including “What I Love About Mom” ($10) and “Grandma is a Super Hero” ($10). In addition to being a great shop for beautiful cards and gift wrap, Seaside Paper has a fun “Q&A a Day for Moms” journal to fill out over the course of five years – as the journal fills, it becomes a loving capsule of memories ($16.95).

Top Things To Do For Mother's Day in San Diego

What are your Mother’s Day plans?

Mother’s Day Brunch at The Westgate Hotel

Mother's Day Brunch at The Westgate Hotel

I have a confession to make. I love brunch. Like absolutely love it. From the amazing food to the day drinking to the ambiance, brunch was made for me. And I may or may not have shared that love with my five year old daughter. Sans the day drinking, of course! So when I was invited to come out to The Westgate Hotel and indulge a little in an amazing meal I couldn’t say no! And what better time than right before Mother’s Day?

I don’t know about you, but the only thing I ask for on Mother’s Day is for my family to take me out to brunch and to have a clean house that day. Simple things. But this brunch? Wow. I invited my mother-in-law and my daughter (of course) and it knocked our socks off. I would truly feel honored if my family took me here to treat me on Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - cold cuts

As soon as you walk into the hotel you’re greeted by smiling faces helping you find exactly where you need to go. And once the elevator doors open into the beautiful Fontainebleau and Versailles Salons and you walk into the gorgeous setting where they host brunch, you’re immediately relaxed and ready for a wonderful meal.

We were seated at our table and immediately greeted by our amazing server, Juan. He took care of us the whole morning and made sure that my mimosa glass was full and my mother-in-law and daughter had everything they needed. I knew we were in for a great time when he told my daughter that she was definitely old enough for a glass to drink her orange juice out of. Her little chest puffed up and she drank her OJ like a pro.

Mother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - crepe station

The Food

Now I’ve been to many brunches in my 32 years however none have stacked up to the selection that The Westgate Hotel has. The choices you’ll have to make when you first walk through can be quite hard.

We had to take a lap around to view the selection first and then my daughter stopped at the crepe and waffle station. We watched with amazement as they made a delicious crepe for me and then flambeed some berries to nestle inside the crepe. Then they made my daughter a delicious belgian waffle with warm syrup.

Mother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - house made crepes

We then enjoyed some delicious seafood and meats from their vast array of choices. One of my favorites? The shrimp empanandas and crab cakes. Wow! The oysters rockafeller were also outstanding. And while we didn’t make it over to the sushi bar this time, I cannot wait to try it out when we visit next!

Mother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - shellfishMother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - seafoodMother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - sushi bar

As soon as my daughter walked to the desserts, her eyes got real big and she turned to me as if asking if she could really try whatever she chose. That childish joy that she experienced was exactly what I felt as an adult walking up to the dessert selection. From an amazing lavender panna cotta, to a chocolate hazelnut pyramid cake to many more scrumptious selections, our sweet tooth was fully satisfied.

Mother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - desserts

The Details

The Westgate will be offering a Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch on Sunday, May 8! Served in the hotel’s beautiful Fontainebleau and Versailles Salons, brunch will feature made to-order-omelets, fresh seafood, gourmet plates, carving and crepe stations, baked breads, pastries and a variety of gourmet desserts.

In addition to the delightful unlimited feast, the Imperial Bar will serve freshly squeezed juices and endless champagne, mimosas, Bloody Marys and margaritas. The price is $79 for adults and $39.50 for children under 12 (plus tax and gratuity).

Tickets for Mother & Daughter Teas can be purchased here. Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch reservations can be made by calling 619-557-3655.

Mother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - chocolate fountain

Looking for a place to stay in San Diego?

The Westgate Hotel is an iconic property in the heart of downtown San Diego designed to rival the mythical palaces of Europe. From its 223 elegantly appointed guest rooms to the contemporary cuisine of the award-winning Westgate Room, guests truly experience a memorable difference while enjoying European décor, attentive service, exquisite cuisine and artistic cocktails.

To reserve an overnight stay at TheWestgate Hotel, visit www.westgatehotel.com or call 800-522-1564.

Mother's Day Brunch at the Westgate Hotel - Molly and Ann

What are your plans for Mother’s Day?

Thank you to the Westgate Hotel for hosting us.

Dream Dinners Makes Mom’s Life Easier

When I find things that make my life easier, I want to climb onto the roof and shout it out to everyone. So when I was invited to try out Dream Dinners in Encinitas and see what it was all about, I couldn’t say no. And not only did I find an awesome place to enjoy some me time, I was able to check a few things off my list in a short amount of time.

Dream Dinners - Making Moms Lives Easier

I’m a huge believer of using the tools and resources out there to make our lives easier. I also believe that everyone should know their strengths and weaknesses. And when you have a weakness, you should try and find a way to create strength. I love cooking. I love to eat what I make and enjoy seeing my family around the dinner table enjoying a meal that I made.

However with an increase in work hours and a crazier family schedule, I’ve found that the one thing I don’t have is time to prep meals. That includes finding time to grocery shop (although I do love me some Amazon Prime Now and Amazon Fresh!). But even when I do get groceries delivered to our door, I still have to prep it and come up with a dinner plan. But even with the best of intentions I find myself running around 10 minutes before my husband comes home trying to find some 15 minute wonder to make and serve to the family. Or I call the husband and ask him to pick something up.

That’s when Dream Dinners stepped in and opened my eyes to how easy meal time prep could be with a little preplanning. And a little letting go. Just like I gave in and hired a maid service when I realized I am horrible at keeping up with the house cleaning, I also realize that I need help in the kitchen too for those nights that a conference call runs late, I’m still working on a project, or I have a meeting at my son’s school. And having a meal prepped and ready to go in the fridge, with little to no prep work on my end is making my life a whole lot easier.

Dream Dinners storefront

Why Dream Dinners?

Founded in 2002, Dream Dinners enables guests to choose from seasonal, rotating monthly menus and prepare the dinners in-store without the hassle of planning, shopping and chopping. They lay out the ingredients in an easy-to-follow format so you can assemble a month’s worth of meals in about an hour.

You can get a feel for the DreamDinners experience in this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-4Cu9epiAA.

Dream Dinners - instructions to follow

How Dream Dinners Works

Interested in how Dream Dinners works? Here’s a run down of exactly what I did from the time I walked into the door to when I left with my bag of meals:

  1. As soon as I came in, I dropped off my purse and headed to grab an apron and wash my hands.
  2. Then I grabbed my list of meals that I’d be preparing that day and got to work.
  3. I went to the station for my first meal and looked over the instructions.
  4. I simply went down the instructions list and added ingredients into the small bags provided to create each “layer” of the meal or recipe. All of the tools I needed were right at the station ready to use including measuring cups and spoons as well as all of the ingredients I’d need.
  5. When I had all of the components together,  I added everything to a larger bag and popped in a recipe card so I’d know what to do once I got home.
  6. After each meal was in it’s bag, I placed it in the fridge to stay cool while I finished the rest of my meals.
  7. I repeated this process until all of my meals were done, washing my hands in between each meal prep.

Dream Dinners - tools to use

When you first walk into Dream Dinners, the helpers there take you through the process. You aren’t just left alone to figure it out, you have a helper there along the way for any questions you might have.

Since I’m eating a different meal plan than my family, I could simply omit ingredients I wouldn’t eat or substitute another ingredient. I could also note on the bag if I needed to add anything at home. For example, they have low fat versions of certain things like cream cheese. So I noted what bags I needed to add full fat cream cheese to since we don’t usually eat the low fat versions.

And not only is it easy to customize your meals, you also get to choose what meals you prepare from a huge list of meals that are on a rotating basis each month. So one month’s menu will never be the same as the previous month. That means I get to try out a lot of fun options with my family. And each time I go to Dream Dinners, I can get a taste for one of the latest menu items for the next month after I’m done!

Dream Dinners - ingredients to use

When I got my meals home, I took the three I knew I’d make in the next 5 days and put them in the fridge. All of the others went into the freezer for another week. It’s recommended to pull the meal you want to enjoy from the freezer and into the fridge the night before so it has time to thaw out. But there is also thawing options available in case you forget like I have.

And while sides don’t come with the meals, Dream Dinners has a huge fridge with sides and dessert options you can add to your meals. Or you can choose to add your own sides. For the French Taragon Chicken with Redskin Potato Wedges meal, I added fresh asparagus and just roasted it when I roasted the potatoes. So easy to throw in when everything else was cooking.

Dream Dinners 1

Dream Dinners is a great option for those parents who might not have the time every night to completely prepare and cook a homemade meal for their families. I love that I now have a (cheaper) option at my fingertips for homemade dinners to take the place of calling my husband and asking him to bring home fast food.

And? I love that I can head out to Dream Dinners for a few hours to meal prep. I don’t have to make a mess in my kitchen AND I get a little me time on the weekends. Win-win!

Have you tried Dream Dinners? What’s your favorite Dream Dinners meal?

San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo Day

This post featuring the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering’s Expo day is sponsored.

SDFSE 2016 Social Media Image EXPO Day TagExcite your mind at the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering March 5-13.

The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering’s EXPO Day is Saturday, March 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and kicks off a celebratory week of learning interaction and behind-the-scenes opportunities for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade and their families to ignite the love for all things STEM.

Join us at PETCO Park for a FREE day of fun for the entire family. Visit with more than 130 local businesses, corporations and organizations providing interactive, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exhibits and activities to budding K-12 science lovers, but everyone is welcome. EXPO DAY is free and open to the public.

Now in its eighth year, festival organizers are expanding their festival event schedule to appeal to adults ages 21 and up, to continue their passion for STEM education. Also new in 2016 is the “STEM in Your Backyard” series, which consists of mini versions of EXPO Day in diverse communities across San Diego, including Vista, Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, City Heights and Downtown San Diego’s East Village. This new series will invite local families of all backgrounds to experience the festival and STEM exhibits in diverse neighborhoods across San Diego County.

SDFSE 2016 Twitter Image 1

A program of the BIOCOM Institute and presented by Illumina, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering is partnering up again with the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center to encourage and get kids excited about science and related fields to inspire them to become tomorrow’s STEM innovators. The festival also helps continue our region’s reputation of being a leader in the science industry. The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering truly shows how science and engineering is right in our “backyard.”

The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering website has a complete list of Festival Week events. Many of the activities are free and can accommodate school groups, scout troops, and other individuals, students and families.

Go to lovestemsd.org for complete details.

SDFSE-EXPO-Day-IMG_0002-Photo by Melissa Jacobs

Is your child interested in STEM subjects?

Valentines Day Fun In Downtown San Diego

Valentines Day Fun In Downtown San Diego

Looking for great gift ideas for Valentines Day? Or are you planning an amazing day for your loved one(s)? Check out what’s going on in Downtown San Diego, including a few fun events at Seaport Village!

Valentines Day Fun In Downtown San Diego

Unique Gift Ideas

Urban Beach House offers specialty salts from La Jolla Salt Co. for your culinary cutie. Keep the love alive in the kitchen with standout flavors including uncured bacon, Aleppo chile, black summer truffle and hickory smoked sea salt (starting at $12). You’ll find all his favorite SoCal brands including sleek Nixon watches and fashion-forward Stance socks.

Love is in the air with Surf’s Up Candles from Urban Beach House featuring beachy scents like surf wax, pina colada and pineapple coconut (starting at $18). Shoppers can also find beach inspired décor, bags and one-of-a-kind jewelry at Madison San Diego boutique.

Renowned photographer (and San Diego local) Aaron Chang offers a number of options for the art lover including 12×12 prints featuring waves and exotic landscapes (starting at $150), and a San Diego Through the Lens of Aaron Chang” coffee table book featuring 80 pages of stunning San Diego scenery ($39.00).

From Feb. 12th- 14th local company Urban Shindigs will have a pop up floral shop and “Bloom Bar” in the central courtyard – the perfect place to buy blooms for your Valentine!

Fun with Food

Venissimo Cheese will offer Contraband Curds cheese plates featuring a selection of cheeses that have previously been banned. These $10 cheese plates will include dried fruit, chocolate, crackers and accoutrement.

With more than 20 hand-made gelato flavors, Gelato Paradiso will let movie guests “steal” a cone with any purchase ($1.00 value).

While you’re downtown, Morton’s The Steakhouse is offering a taste of the good life with an exceptional Morton’s steak and cold water lobster for only $55 (see image attached). We hope you consider including this in your Valentine’s Day restaurant round ups. Thank you.

Outdoor Movie Night

For a twist on the traditional Valentine’s Day date night, The Headquarters will also be hosting an outdoor movie night featuring the love and crime classic “Bonnie and Clyde” on Friday, February 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event is completely free – guests are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?

The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure at Legoland California

The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure at Legoland CA sign at entrance

Lights! Camera! Action!

Our friends from The LEGO® Movie and Legoland California invited us out to check out their new show. And you can only see it at Legoland California! Emmet, Wyldstyle, Unikitty, MetalBeard and Benny from “The LEGO® Movie™” are back in this all-new adventure at The LEGO® Show Place. Help them defeat the evil secret plot of the new villain, Risky Business!

The LEGO® Movie4D A New Adventure reunites Emmet and friends in an all-new short story combining dazzling 3D computer animation with “4D,” real-world effects such as wind, water and fog.

In 2014, kids around the world embraced the adventures of Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the key to saving the world in “The LEGO Movie™,” which went on to gross more than $400 million worldwide.

But what happened after the movie?

The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure at Legoland California opens February 6

Fans can find out starting Saturday, Feb. 6, now that “The LEGO Movie4D A New Adventure” has officially opened at LEGOLAND California Resort.

Returning to voice their iconic characters are actors Elizabeth Banks (Wyldstyle), Nick Offerman (MetalBeard), Charlie Day (Benny) and Alison Brie (Unikitty). Actor, writer and comedian Patton Oswalt voices the scheming Risky Business, brother of movie villain President Business, a new character created exclusively for the attraction.

When asked how it felt to join a “family” of well-known characters, Patton responded, “It’s beyond flattering. It’s a clever, creative way of looking at, of all things, LEGO, and I was touched to be a part of it.” Patton added that since Risky Business is a character that fans of “The LEGO Movie” haven’t seen before, he approached his performance in hiding his character’s true intentions “with the wiles of a LEGO coyote.”

Set after the events of the movie, the 12 ½-minute story finds the gang entangled in an Evil Secret Plot involving a mysterious theme park inspired by their adventures in “The LEGO Movie,” one that requires them to call on the Master Builder skills of a surprise ally to save the day.

Watching The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure at Legoland California

The LEGO Movie4D A New Adventure” was directed by Rob Schrab, who is making his feature film directorial debut with “The LEGO Movie Sequel,” set to open May 18, 2018. When it came to designing the attraction, he said a strong story was critical to its success.

“We only spotlight them for a fraction of the amount of time,” he said, “so it’s important to get tothe fun as soon as possible. This is the first time Emmet, Wyldstyle and the gang meet since thefilm.”

Developed in collaboration with LEGOLAND owner Merlin Entertainments Group and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, the attraction was created by Los Angeles-based Pure Imagination Studios with input from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the talented writer-directors who brought “The LEGO Movie” to hilarious life, along with producer Dan Lin.

The result is a delightfully clever blend of the same sly humor and breathtaking, built-with-LEGOvisuals that made the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO film a global hit among kids and adults alike.

For Offerman, the opportunity to slip back into MetalBeard’s shoes – er, bricks – was a welcome one.

“I have worked with Rob on ‘Childrens Hospital’ and ‘Parks and Recreation,’ so it was like a nice reunion of old pals from summer camp,” he said of making the attraction. “We just tried to make each other laugh with silly renderings of dead-serious pirate-y mayhem.”

The LEGO® Movie4D A New Adventure” opens on Feb. 6 at LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., following its debut in Florida on Jan. 28, and will soon be playing at all other LEGOLAND theme parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers worldwide in 2016.

 Who’s your favorite LEGO® Movie star? 

Planning a trip to Legoland CA soon? Check out our highlights:

For more Legoland CA fun, check out these great posts:
LEGOLAND California Holiday Snow Days
Legoland Heartlake City
5 Reasons Why Star Wars Lovers Should Visit Legoland California
Top 5 Things to Do at Legoland California When You’re 5



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